Just as every business is unique, business owners, too, have an endless variety of needs, objectives and hopes for the future of their companies. You may be wondering how and when you can step back from the business some day. But, understandably, there may be many questions and concerns keeping you awake at night. Getting a grasp on your business transition needs — and the many alternative strategies available to you — will provide a framework for achieving your goals.
Transition planning begins with analyzing the complexities of your business — including family and employee stakeholder interests, management succession needs, shareholder expectations and potential tax liabilities — to develop a complete picture of your current situation. Where you go next is up to you.
Charting your course
The most critical undertaking as you begin this process is to identify and develop goals and objectives for your business, your family and yourself. This essential element defines, directs and motivates all other components as you move forward in developing the plan and setting it in motion. A couple of bromides are particularly applicable to this phase: “It is difficult to align a leaning building from the 12th floor, so make sure the foundation is set correctly,” and “When headed in the wrong direction, speed is not helpful.” Take the time and effort to establish these objectives before starting down any path. Simply because some of these objectives cannot be fully defined currently is no reason not to continue the process.
This is a course that will become more refined as the future converts unknown factors into actual conditions. It is important that the plan has been established and developed as fully as possible, so that over time it can be implemented quickly and alternatives considered where appropriate.
Once your goals and objectives have been identified and delineated in as much detail as practical, the next step is to examine your business and all of its characteristics, attributes and challenges. This phase identifies modifications that can be made to various aspects of the business (management, ownership, tax structure, governance, etc.) to more closely align with and meet your business objectives.
Perhaps your personal mission is to retire in great health at 55 years old with financial independence and a strong management team in place. And the mission of your company may be to exceed your customers’ expectations and industry norms for profitability while being a good corporate citizen and rewarding your employees. To achieve your personal and business goals, your succession plan and strategic business plan must be coordinated and managed around these objectives. This will require careful selection of your successors and others who will carry out your plans as you begin the process of stepping back.
Developing your process
Devise a timeline for the transition process that will allow your successor to assume leadership gradually. Allow yourself plenty of time to prepare for departure, while making yourself available to lend professional advice to your successor.
How Freed Maxick Can Help
Our experience with owner-managed businesses — and our commitment to understanding and executing your objectives — make us an ideal advisor for your transition planning needs. We have utilized the strategies outlined above, as well as others, over the years, and continue to refine and update our knowledge and processes to fit individual client needs.
Our understanding of family and organizational dynamics helps enable a smooth planning process aimed at optimizing outcomes for stakeholders. This approach also facilitates continued business success and helps maintain strong family relationships. Our primary goal is to help family-owned and closely held businesses maximize their success across generations.
CONTACT US to learn more about our Consulting Services.
ABOUT US: Freed Maxick CPAs, P.C. is Western and Upstate New York’s (NY) largest public accounting firm and a Top 100 firm in the U.S. Freed Maxick provides audit, tax and consulting services to closely-held businesses, public (SEC) companies, not-for-profits and governmental entities in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany and NYC, New York.